Peter is back for another guest post! If you don’t remember him, he’s a friend of mine from Toronto. I met him while he’s working in Vancouver, but he’s moved back home since. Recently he returned for a short visit, and made around town for some sushi:
Now that I no longer live on the West Coast, people always ask me what the number one thing is that I miss about Vancouver. And my answer is always: sushi!
So when I returned to Vancouver for a week-long visit this summer, naturally I spent a great deal of time hitting up all my favourite sushi spots.
Sushi King House
First stop on the tour was Sushi King House in the Granville-Marpole area. This was a favourite years ago, and due to its proximity to our hotel, it was a great choice for our first meal of the day. As the name may suggest, Sushi King’s claim to fame is its larger-than-average nigiri (had to eat it in two-bites!), maki, and cones. The must-order here is the chopped scallop (roll or cone). Definitely one of my favourite rolls, and this was the best I’ve had all week – cold, crisp, clean-tasting scallops lightly dressed with mayo and tobiko. And the rice was perfect too. Sushi King is also one of my favourite places to order toro. Beautiful slices of albacore tuna belly. Melt in your mouth, and very clean tasting. The first bite instantly had me contemplating a move back to Vancouver. This is an extremely casual, little gem of a restaurant. And the friendly service will keep you coming back – our server still recognized us (after four years!) and asked us why we haven’t been back in so long. We returned two more times that week!
8176 Granville Street, Vancouver
Bay Sushi Cafe
Later that afternoon we headed downtown to Bay Sushi Cafe. Known as “Sushi Bay” to its many regulars, this is a busy, casual, lunch-time spot located on Seymour Street, directly across from Hudson’s Bay. The winner here is the spicy tuna roll – made with avocado, a small amount of tenkasu (tempura bits), and I swear I tasted a hint of gochujang (Korean chili paste) in the mix. It’s by far my favourite spicy tuna in the city. The chopped scallop is also great here, and their salmon and tuna nigiri are consistently good. Mainly a lunch-time spot, Bay Sushi Cafe closes early at 7pm each day and is closed on Sundays. (And yes, we returned just before closing that night to get a second round of sushi to go!)
678 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar
This was a new one for me. Having never been to Commercial Drive, my friend offered to take me to his favourite (and what looks to be the busiest) sushi place on the Drive. We headed out for lunch on the day of the World Cup final, and despite the lack of a TV, Kishimoto was packed. We grabbed the last couple of seats at the bar and ordered the salmon set, chopped scallop roll, and gyoza (not pictured). All were excellent. Very good rice; decent, fresh-tasting scallop. The kurobuta pork gyoza were particularly good. I can see why this place is so busy. Not sure I would go out of my way just to come here, but it would certainly be my first choice for sushi on Commercial Drive.
2054 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Rue 909 Sushi (formerly Urban Sushi)
Urban Sushi used to be my favorite lunch-time spot when I worked in the Bentall Centre. This hole-in-the-wall, basement location was by far the best sushi in the area so I was happy to see that it still exists. It looks like they recently renamed to Rue 909 Sushi, but for all appearances it seems to have the same menu, and same sushi on offer. I ordered the spicy sushi combo (tuna, salmon, and dynamite rolls) and all were excellent. Well-made, delicately-pressed rice. Really good. Would definitely return if I still worked in the area.
909 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver
Another tiny, hole-in-wall location – you can almost walk past Yamato and miss it. As there isn’t much seating in this little restaurant, it’s usually best to try and snag a spot at the counter or get takeout. Yamato has a great sweet/spicy house sauce, and the best thing to get here are any rolls made with this sauce. My personal favourites are their spicy tuna and scallop rolls. The yam roll is also really good. Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but highly-recommended.
616 Davie Street, Vancouver
No tour would be complete without a souvenir! While I was tempted to bring home a giant bucket of chopped scallop, it probably wouldn’t survive the 5-hour flight back to Toronto, so I opted for a sushi-themed mug instead. (Always wanted one of these!) Found at Utsuwa-No-Yakata (a Japanese tableware shop at the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond).
Bonus #2: Non-sushi snacks also enjoyed this week!
Highly-recommended: fried chicken at Re-Up BBQ (River Market, New Westminster); duck confit sandwich at Fat Duck Mobile Eatery; Parallel 49 Brewing Company’s Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale; Earl Grey donut at Cartem’s Donuterie; pain au chocolat at Faubourg; Zakkushi on Denman; the burgers and beer selection at Tap & Barrel; Storm Crow Tavern (Commercial Drive); La Taqueria (Cambie & Broadway); and Viet Sub on Robson.